Talking to Fanatics View about his new role as head coach of the San Antonio-based XFL team, former Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Hines Ward discussed his legacy and being known as one of the best blocking wideouts of all time.
“You know, sometimes it’s good. Sometimes it’s bad because I’ve caught a lot of balls as well, Ward said. “For me, it was just about being the complete wide receiver. I didn’t get enamored with stats. I just wanted to win. And I think that’s something when you mention the Pittsburgh Steelers and, especially during the 2000s, that was something that we did consistently.”
With 1,000 career receptions, Ward certainly did catch a lot of balls. His receiving is something that probably doesn’t get talked about enough, and his attitude with not getting caught up with stats is something that greatly benefitted the Steelers during his tenure with the team. However, it’s also something that’s probably hurt him when it comes to making the Pro Football Hall of Fame.
Ward’s a two-time Super Bowl champ, a three-time All-Pro, and a four-time Pro Bowl selection. While he didn’t get caught up with stats, he still managed to put up big numbers, with three seasons with double-digit touchdowns and 85 in his career, along with 12,083 yards. His 1,000 receptions also rank 14th all-time. While calling Ward one of the best blocking receivers of all time is a compliment and is absolutely factual, it does seem as if the constant praise on that one part of his game almost detracts from just how good he was a wide receiver.
Ward’s will to win led to him being a part of great Steelers teams. Obviously, the two Super Bowls speak for themselves, and he was surrounded by a lot of guys with a similar mindset as him. Jerome Bettis, Brett Keisel, Troy Polamalu, James Harrison, Casey Hampton and Ben Roethlisberger, among others, were great leaders with that same extreme will to win as Ward, and those guys are big reasons why the Steelers won as much as they did throughout the 2000s.
Ward’s skill as a blocker shouldn’t be ignored. However, the rest of his game does deserve more focus. He was one of the most complete receivers of all time, and in his prime, he was a bonafide stud. While his Hall of Fame case is dwindling, I personally think he deserves to be in the Hall. While it seems unlikely to happen, his omission would be rather egregious in my opinion.
Sound off in the comments below if you think Ward deserves to be in the Hall of Fame.